Wilkes University

Wilkes Remembers Trustee Emeriti William J. Umphred Sr. and Allan P. Kirby Jr.

Recently, the University lost two trustee emeriti with the passing of William J. Umphred Sr. and Allan P. Kirby Jr.      

Bill Umphred passed away peacefully on Sept. 10, 2020, at the age of 91. He dedicated more than two decades of service to the Wilkes University Board of Trustees, beginning in 1973.  Mr. Umphred was an active member of the board until his retirement in 1994. At that time, he was granted emeritus status.  

Umphred was a member of the Wilkes College class of 1952 and graduated with a degree in English. A proud veteran of the U.S. Navy, he served as a naval officer during the Korean War. Upon his return to his hometown of Wilkes-Barre, he joined the Commonwealth Telephone Company as a management trainee in 1955. He was elected president of the company in 1974 and retired in 1989. In 1990, Wilkes celebrated his commitment to the University by presenting him with a Colonel Blazer. Umphred is survived by two sons and numerous grandchildren. More can be read about his life 
Allan Kirby Jr., 89, of Mendham, N.J., passed away at his home on Sept. 16, 2020, at the age of 89. Kirby joined the Wilkes Board of Trustees in 1985 and received emeritus status in 2003. Kirby’s strong belief in entrepreneurship led to the establishment of the Allan P. Kirby Center for Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship (APKCFEE ) at Wilkes in 1993. For more than 25 years, the APKCFEE has instilled the principles of free enterprise and entrepreneurship in students at Wilkes and business leaders throughout the region. Kirby chaired the Board of Managers of the APKCFEE and the endowment committee of the University’s Board of Trustees. The Kirby family’s dedication to Wilkes continues through Mr. Kirby’s son, Milan, a former Trustee and current member of the APKCFEE Board of Managers.  

In addition to his roles with Wilkes, Kirby was involved in numerous professional and philanthropic endeavors. His early business career began at Reynolds & Company, Manufacturers Trust Company and Liberty Square, Inc., a real estate investment company for which he was president. He also served as president of the Board and Trustee of the Morristown School, Trustee of Fred M. and Jessie A. Kirby Episcopal House Inc., chairman of the Executive Committee of Investors Diversified Services Inc. and director and chairman of the Executive Committee of the Alleghany Corporation. More can be read about Kirby 
Please join us in extending your condolences to both the Umphred and Kirby families.